Last year our family decided to start a home garden. We planted lots of green beans, peas, lima beans, tomatoes and lettuce. We had a bumper crop of produce. It was then that I decided to learn how to preserve vegetables. Since we couldn’t keep up with the crop of green beans I learned how to can green beans first.
Canning green beans really is simple. I made sure that I had all the equipment that I’d need and that I had the time to dedicate to doing it. I should also tell you why I wanted to can beans instead of freezing them. Freezing beans takes no time at all, and no special equipment, but frozen vegetables only last 12 to 18 months in the freezer. Properly canned vegetables, kept in a dry environment where there isn’t much temperature swing can keep up to five years. Another reason that I chose to can green beans was because of the number of mature beans I had. Mature green beans are the best to use when canning.
It was easy to find quart size canning jars. You can find them locally at places like Ace Hardware, WalMart, Target and some grocery stores. Best part is that the canning jars can be re-used year after year, all you have to do is replace the lids. It’s recommended you use new lids on the jars to help ensure proper sealing. So how many canning jars do you need? Figure that you need one quart jar per 1/2 pound of green beans.
I decided that I’d can green beans in two different lengths. I trimmed all the beans. Some I cut into one inch pieces, some I left 3 – 4 inches long. The length is entirely up to you. Trimming the beans can take some time, so depending on how much you’re canning you may want to have a helper for this job.
You’ll want to make sure the canning jars are clean. The jars can be boiled or run through a dishwasher using the sterilize cycle.
When you fill the jars leave one inch of space at the top for expansion. Once the jars are full you can add salt (or not). I added salt to the long beans, no salt to the shorter ones. This decision was simply an experimental one to see if we prefer them salted or not. Remove any obvious air bubbles from the bottle with a spatula. Make sure the rim is dry and put on the lids. Don’t screw them down tightly, just snug them.
Now follow the directions on your pressure cooker. It’s a process of heating water, releasing pressure, pressurizing the cooker again and then cooking. It’s best to heat up the pressure cooker as you’re filling the jars so it will be ready.
Now you have plenty of your own home grown canned green beans to enjoy in your favorite recipes all year long!
Catherine Olivia knows everything about growing green beans, canning green beans and especially eating green beans! Visit her site greenbeansnmore.com to learn everything you need to know about growing green beans, canning and freezing green beans and to find a great selection of green bean recipes.
Photo. G. Johansen